HC Deb 19 June 1956 vol 554 cc1230-1
44. Mr. Hayman

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what mileage of the north and south Cornish coastal footpaths, respectively, is now available for public use; what mileage in each case remains to be secured; and when the whole is expected to become available.

Mr. Powell

Public rights of way exist over 98 miles of the north coast route and 92 of the south coast route; they remain to be created over 37 and 41 miles respectively. Both routes are for the most part open to the public, even where no legal rights yet exist. The local authorities are negotiating with the many land owners concerned, and I cannot say when the negotiations will be concluded.

Mr. Hayman

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the sixth Annual Report of the National Parks Commission, for the year ended 30th September, 1955, states that: During the year little progress has been made"? Will the Parliamentary Secretary do what he can to stimulate those concerned to get the job done quickly?

Mr. Powell

Local authorities are aware of the importance of this matter, but even on a short length of path a number of agreements very often have to be negotiated, and that necessarily takes time.

Mr. Stokes

Is not it a fact that neither private owner nor public authority has any legal sanction to stop people walking round their own coast? Is that not so? If so, why does this situation arise at all? Is it not because some people have infringed the rights of the rest?

Mr. Powell

Then it is very curious that a provision to that effect was made by the Labour Government in the 1949 Act.